Businessman backs farming industry's 4x4 campaign

Pick-Ups for Peace is aiming to transport another 70 vehicles to Ukraine by June.Pick-Ups for Peace is aiming to transport another 70 vehicles to Ukraine by June.
Pick-Ups for Peace is aiming to transport another 70 vehicles to Ukraine by June.
Forfar businessman Bob Ritchie has returned from Ukraine after supporting a UK-wide initiative to supply 4x4 vehicles to the front line.

Mr Ritchie, of Ritchie Ltd UK, joined farmers and others working in the agricultural sector as they delivered their first consignment of 22 4x4 vehicles to Lviv in western Ukraine.

The vehicles are being used to ferry injured and dead soldiers from the front line to hospitals.

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The group, Pick-Ups for Peace, is planning monthly missions until June with the aim of sending at least 100 vehicles, and is eager to hear from anyone who could donate an old pick-up or other 4x4, as well as money, to help get the vehicles to Ukraine.

Vehicles can be up to 15 years old and have more than 100,000 miles on the clock, an MOT and good tyres. It costs around £1200 to transport each vehicle and provide accommodation and transport for the volunteer drivers back to the UK.

Volunteers on the most recent trip came from farming communities across the country, with the youngest participant being 18 years old and the oldest 76.

The project is spearheaded by Vince Gillingham and Mark Laird, both of whom have strong connections to Ukraine.

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Vince said: “It is so inspiring to see the good in the people who have given their vehicles, time and money to this project. It gives you a lot of hope for the world to see an 18-year-old who has only just passed his test driving all the way to Ukraine.

“I know Ukraine well but for most of our travelling companions it was their first visit, and it was remarkable to see how strong the cultural connections were. Our Ukrainian contacts could not believe that the UK farming community would do this for them. I urge anyone who can donate a vehicle or money to help us buy vehicles and pay other expenses for these missions to get in touch.”

Mark added: “Be in no doubt, these vehicles are saving lives, and Ukraine will take as many as we can send them. Ukraine is a farming nation, and many UK cereal producers have done well this year on the back of high grain prices and would like to give something back.”

Donate to Pick-Ups for Peace can be made at: Crowdfunding to Support Ukraine's Aid Effort on JustGiving.

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